Winter newsletter 2015 for web

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Winter 2015

Youth. Food. Community.

Announcing Executive Director J. Harrison WE ARE EXCITED to announce that James “J.” Harrison was named Executive Director on January 29, following a national search conducted by The Food Project’s Board of Trustees. J. has served as Acting Director of The Food Project since October and has worked with the organization for over 10 years. “What is so extraordinary about The Food Project is that the work we do locally on our farms, at community meetings, at our farmers markets, and at hunger relief organizations, is so personal and human-scale. Yet, at the same time, the models and programs we develop

and share help shape youth leadership and food systems work across the country. The Food Project is a place of growth, transformation, and hope, and it is an honor to be chosen to serve as Executive Director,” J. said. “We are very excited that J. will lead the organization into the future,” said Dylan Sanders, Chair of The Food Project’s Board of Trustees. “In addition to a deep history with the organization—and the stability that comes with it—he brings an exciting vision for how The Food Project will continue transforming youth and our neighborhoods in new and more effective ways.

Learn more about Executive Director J. Harrison online!

Moreover, J.’s leadership style models the core values of The Food Project. He brings a passion for breaking down barriers and making connections across communities— actions which are so important to transforming our food system.”

Growing Together: Youth programs on the North Shore come together to learn, grow, and build healthier communities. Youth make posters in a Growing Together workshop.

THE GROWING Together Program on the North Shore. “There has been —a partnership between the Food a lot of interest in seeing youth orgaProject and the Lynn Food and nizations collaborate to create greatFitness Alliance—is a yearlong em- er change in Lynn and the surroundpowerment and food systems train- ing areas. This new program is a ing for youth orgachance for our youth nizations in Lynn to lead their peers in and surrounding a transformative exThis new program communities. The perience.” is a chance for three-part series is One of the most our youth to lead designed to prepare powerful pieces of their peers in the youth for leadership the curriculum has roles in policy, enbeen a community community in a vironment, and sysbuild activity, where transformative tems change. participants are diexperience. “The Growing vided into groups, Together program given different re- Chloe Zelka, engages our Root sources, and asked to Root Crew Supervisor Crew youth in a build a healthy comcapstone experience munity. “It was great where they are leaders instead of to see how people could connect on participants. The program was creat- how issues of race and class impact ed out of a desire to see more trained our food system after only two days youth take leadership roles in the with each other,” said John Wang, community,” said Chloe Zelkha, The The Food Project’s Youth Programs Food Project’s Root Crew Supervisor and Community Outreach Manager

Your support makes our work possible. Please make a donation today! Return the enclosed envelope or donate online at

on the North Shore. He recalls a youth saying: “I never thought of the food system as being impacted by racism. But thinking about it, there are five or six fast food restaurants by my school. There’s also a vacant lot where we want to start a garden—but it looks like it will end up being another fast food restaurant.” For the Food Project youth leading the workshops, seeing transformation in the youth participants has been very powerful. “At first, many youth are hesitant to participate,” remarked Esmeralda D., 18, from Lynn, who is part of Root Crew. “After we gave the workshops, people become aware of what is happening in their communities. Raising awareness— that's what we’re looking for. People will say ‘I want to change this.’” Learn more about the Growing Together Program on page 3

What’s Inside: Page


Cooking with Maria A food system vision



The produce route Growing Together with Rosa

Maria Barros: Leader, Teacher, and Cook

“BACK HOME IN Cape Verde, we have a lot of vegetables. Everyday, you have a little zucca,” said Maria Barros, longtime resident of the Dudley neighborhood. “When I came to this neighborhood, in 1988, and this country in 1985, vegetables were very hard to find.” For the past several years, Maria has been leading a cooking class on Cape Verdean cuisine out of The Food Project’s Dorchester kitchen, part of the Grow Well, Eat Well, Be Well workshop series. The series brings together neighborhood residents around growing and cooking healthy food, and focuses on engaging the Dudley community in the creation of a local food system. We caught up with Maria

before her cooking class on February 24 to learn more about what inspires her in the kitchen. “I love to see people eat healthily,” Maria said. “For you to be healthy, it’s how you cook and prepare your food. When you cook with herbs and add more vegetables to your diet, it’s amazing. You really feel healthy.” Maria loves to prepare canja chicken soup, rice and beans, and cachupa, a Cape Verdean stew packed with vegetables and legumes, which she leads a class in preparing on this snowy winter day. She moves around in the kitchen like she grew up there—which she did. “I grew up cooking with my grandmother,” she said. But she hasn’t stopped learning in the kitchen. A couple of years ago, Maria’s doctor recommended cutting back on sodium. In the kitchen, she advises us that her cachupa is low on salt and allows us to add our own, while teaching about the ties between a diet low in sodium and good health. And she’s pleased with the progress she’s seen in Boston around the availability of fresh vegetables and interest in cooking with them. “Now, every newspaper has a healthy recipe in it,” she said. And she’s still learning new ways to cook familiar vegetables. “Generation over generation, there’s always new things,” she said. For instance, Maria grew up boiling her collard greens and

kale. Now, she also sautés her greens in olive oil, and makes kale chips! As the class moves out of the kitchen and everyone fills their plates with cachupa over rice, chatter fills the air as people share their experiences cooking and what healthy and delicious food means to them. What does healthy home cooking mean to you? Share your answer on Facebook and Twitter with #tfphealth

(Top left) Maria Barros, a Dudley neighborhood resident and home cook, demonstrates how to make cachupa (Above), a Cape Verdean stew of hominy (corn), beans, and vegetables, served with rice, at an Eat Well cooking class.


The Dudley community’s vision for a food system IF YOU COULD ENVISION a healthy, sustainable food system for a neighborhood, what would it look like? The Dudley Real Food Hub, a collaboration between The Food Project, the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), and Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE), is leading a community planning process to do just that in Boston’s Dudley neighborhood. To get the process started, youth from The Food Project and DSNI conducted a survey to gather information on how the neighborhood food system works for local residents. The survey, which was highlighted in The Food Project’s fall newsletter, provided the basis for a series of discussions throughout the fall in which a steering committee of neighborhood residents identified a vision and a set of priorities around food in the neighborhood. The committee’s vision, which was enthusiastically affirmed at a December community meeting, states: "The Dudley Real Food Hub

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envisions a local resident-led food system that provides access to nutritious, affordable healthy food to all our neighbors, brings economic opportunities to residents, and protects the environment." Working groups of neighborhood residents and business owners are now drawing on the input from that community meeting to draft action plans on priority areas, including: affordable, fresh produce; healthy food in schools; vacant land for growing; jobs and businesses; nutritious restaurants; and composting and recycling. “This food planning process is the first of its kind in the city of Boston. It has the potential not only to build a ‘food oasis’ in Dudley but also to offer a set of tools for how other communities in Boston and across the country can increase community involvement and control of their neighborhood food systems,” said Sutton Kiplinger, The Food Project’s Regional Director for Greater Boston. “We are excited to be part of this process.”

Youth. Food. Community.

From Seed to Fork

Trace the distribution routes our fresh produce takes from our farms in Greater Boston and the North Shore to your plate, and remember to love your local food system! Farms

Wenh am

Beverl y

CSA Pick-up Sites


Farmers Markets

households with CSA farm shares


Hunger Relief Organizations Lexingto n

Arlingto n

22,211 pounds of produce sold at farmers markets accepting EBT/SNAP benefits

Somer vi lle

Camb ridg e

Lincol n

Downt ow n Bo st on

Brooklin e

Dorche st er

174,744 meals served at hunger relief organizations with our produce

Jamaica Plain


*Map not to scale.

Growing Together: Rosa, 17, takes what she learned with The Food Project back to her community in Lawrence "WHEN WE CAME TOGETHER in the first session, we realized that we all love what we do and are grateful that the opportunity to do what we do came our way," said Rosa D., 17, from Lawrence, a participant in The Food Project's Growing Together Program. Rosa is a member of Groundwork Lawrence's Green Team, one of the eight groups participating in this year’s Growing Together Program. For Rosa, the Growing Together Program has been an opportunity to meet youth from The Food Project who are also working to build

healthier communities and bond over shared experiences, as well as a place of learning. One question they tackled together was "How do you build a community that is active and healthy?" The answers varied—what is good for the health of one community doesn't necessarily work in another. "We learned that different connections in a community impact the way we live," Rosa said. "We don't actually know until we are put into a community, what it means to be active and healthy in that particular community."

Rosa is passionate about changing the lives of people in Lawrence for the better. When she turned 16, she jumped at the chance to get a job and found the Green Team, where she works to "promote awareness of the environment and stabilize the Lawrence community," she said. For Rosa, participating in the Growing Together Program has been "really powerful." She credits The Food Project youth with having fresh ideas about healthy eating. "We take what we learn at The Food Project and bring it back to the community of Lawrence." T he Food Project 3

What’s happening? Now selling CSA Shares!

Farmers, fables & feasts

Lincoln Spring Greens Lincoln Summer Metro Boston Summer Lynn Summer Beverly Summer

a benefit to support

The Food Project Wednesday, May 6, 2015 Artists for Humanity EpiCenter, Boston

Buy online at or call 781-259-8621 x21

Featuring Byron Hurt, 2015 Leadership Award Winner For event details, sponsorship opportunities, and tickets, visit

The Food Project’s mission is to create a thoughtful and productive community of youth and adults from diverse backgrounds who work together to build a sustainable food system. Our community produces healthy food for residents of the city and suburbs, provides youth leadership opportunities, and inspires and supports others to create change in their own communities.

555 Dudley Street Dorchester, MA 02125 617-442-1322

120 Munroe Street Lynn, MA 01901 781-346-6726

10 Lewis Street Lincoln, MA 01773 781-259-8621

Happenings is published three times a year to inform our readers about activities and events in our community. The newsletter design, graphics, and editorial are contributed by Heather Hammel. Additional editorial contributed by Alice Poltorick. We’d love to hear from you. Please contact us with your comments at and stay connected on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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